The last decade has been one of unprecedented growth for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the “Mormon Moment” of 2011 ushered in by political turmoil to the firm removal of “Mormon” from the Church’s vernacular, the period between 2010-2019 will never be forgotten. Take a look back on some of the biggest news moments of the decade.
In 2010, Latter-day Saints began and ended the year on a somber note.
January brought a devastating earthquake to the people of Haiti, resulting in at least 100,000 deaths and over $7 billion in damage. The Church mobilized its resources to address the direst needs of the people affected, sending over 80,000 pounds of food and emergency resources to the area.
Photo by Laura Rowley
As the year drew to a close, December saw the historic Provo Tabernacle heavily damaged by an accidental four-alarm fire that gutted the interior and left only a shell of the walls remaining. Firefighters responded to the first call at 2:43 in the morning but were unable to enter the building to fight the fire due to the intensity of the blaze. Fortunately, beauty would rise from these ashes. More on that later.
A number of cultural trends in 2011 culminated in what news outlets dubbed “the Mormon Moment.” Mitt Romney announced plans for his second presidential run. The musical The Book of Mormon hit Broadway. Media such as the Twilight book series (written by Latter-day Saint author Stephenie Meyer) and the show Big Love brought the Church (and misconceptions about it) further into the limelight.
While Latter-day Saints have gotten used to some pretty big announcements over the last year or two, it had been some time since a major change had been given over the pulpit during General Conference back in 2012. President Thomas S. Monson changed all of that when he announced a lower age requirement for full-time missionaries.
Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve were assigned by the First Presidency to respond to a formal invitation to represent the Church at the 57th Presidential Inauguration at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 21, 2013. It was President Barack Obama’s second term in office.
On November 1, 2013, the First Presidency announced a semiannual general women’s meeting would replace the general Relief Society and general Young Women’s meetings. All women, young women, and girls age eight and older were invited to attend the first meeting, to be held in April 2014.
The year 2014 was a preparatory year for legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, which would come from the Supreme Court in the historic Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2015. Throughout the year, the Church responded to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Utah. In January, when the decision was still being reviewed by the Supreme Court, the Church asserted the rights of their ecclesiastical leaders to not perform such marriages.
On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court decided not to hear cases against the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state, ruling such a ban as unconstitutional. The Church responded by saying the decision “will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God. In prizing freedom of conscience and Constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion, we will continue to teach that standard and uphold it in our religious practices.
Nevertheless, respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken. Church leaders will continue to encourage our people to be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation.”
Members faced the loss of three beloved leaders in 2015, which ultimately resulted in the calling of three new Apostles into the Quorum of the Twelve.
Nearly six years after the Provo Tabernacle was destroyed by fire, the rebuilt Provo City Center Temple was dedicated on March 20, 2016. More than 1,000 people worked on the restoration project, including historians, archaeologists, architects and construction crews. The rebuilding project was considered an amazing feat of engineering.
The Church’s first-ever Light the World initiative brought great hope at the end of the year. Three years later, the Christmas campaign centered on celebrating the birth of Christ through acts of service is going stronger than ever before.
On May 21, 2017, the Paris France Temple was dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring. It was the first temple built in France and the Church’s 156th temple overall.
The new year brought heartache for the Church with the passing of President Thomas S. Monson on January 2, 2018, at the age of 90.
Throughout 2018, multiple announcements were made under the new First Presidency. This included the calling of Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares to the Quorum of the Twelve, the launch of the new ministering programs to replace home and visiting teaching, and the prophetic admonition to refrain from using the word “Mormon” in reference to the Church.
More changes continued in 2019 and, in many ways, are too innumerable to count. The year began with sacred adjustments to temple ordinances. Communication between missionaries and their families was expanded, policies regarding LGBT couples and their children were updated in positive ways, a new Book of Mormon video series was released, women were allowed to be witnesses in ordinances, and two new programs were released for home study and youth. You can read about our top news stories from 2019 in-depth here.